In a ceremonial Thanksgiving call to troops — many of whom are still stationed on the border as part of the political stunt involving the threat posed by unarmed migrants slowly marching north from Central America — the President continued his use of the military as an outlet for political frustrations.
On a Thursday morning call from Mar-a-Lago (which can be viewed below), Trump gave cursory thanks to various military groups before veering into brazenly politicizing the holiday military event. He specifically took aim at a judge’s ruling that asylum claims are legal and must be permitted as part of a border crossing.
“We’re doing very well on the southern border, we’re very tough,” Trump said. “We get a lot of bad court decisions from the Ninth Circuit, which has become a big thorn in our side … It’s a terrible thing when judges take over your protective services. When they tell you how to protect your border, it’s a disgrace.”
“In many cases, we have no idea who they are, and in many cases, they’re not good people. They’re bad people,” he continued.
“The president’s conduct on that call, the manner in which he politicized it, demonstrated an utter and complete disregard for what military service means,” said CNN analyst and retired Rear Admiral John Kirby. “This was, sadly, predictable and avoidable.”
President Trump’s criticism of the Ninth Circuit comes after U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts openly denounced Trump’s remarks on federal judges, saying an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”
Trump also used the event to praise Saudi Arabia — which evidence suggests brutally murdered a journalist working for the Washington Post — for reducing oil prices. He also used the event to defend his daughter, Ivanka, whose use of private email for government business bears a striking resemblance to one of Trump’s favorite avenues of attack against Hillary Clinton.
Trump is no stranger to abusing or outright not getting the basic concept of being thankful — last year’s Thanksgiving call to the troops was called “insulting.” Which shouldn’t be that surprising from the man who thanked himself in third-person on Twitter for consumer confidence numbers before even taking office.
The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index for December surged nearly four points to 113.7, THE HIGHEST LEVEL IN MORE THAN 15 YEARS! Thanks Donald!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2016
After ending the Thanksgiving call, he gave many new reasons Americans ought to be thankful for him at their dinner tables this year from bringing jobs back (which isn’t really happening) to how well people who leave in his White House’s record turnover are doing (also, not really true).
And instead of dinner with families, thousands of troops are sitting down with MREs defending the southern border from desperate, starving people traveling with everything they could carry to a new land based on the idea that they can live free.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.